Locked up behind mechanisms, shrouded by secret door after secret door. Mircalla stirs in her bedroom. Just beyond the threshold of the door lay unwelcoming pits where imps zip about from task to task. The ever-busy miniature hellscape stopped for no one. Within the smouldering cavern the young devil had called home since infancy she’d begin her nightly prayer.
Though, this was not a prayer of the canon. The twisted prayer began with a small ritual knife. The blinded woman began by pricking her fingertip, the purple digit twitching somewhat in pain as red blood coaxed forth. The dresser had been cleared for this very purpose. Slowly, methodically even she began to trace across it. Nonsense really, perhaps when her vision was better this would have been a pathetic attempt at a pentacle, but at this point it resembled much of nothing, each stroke of her taloned finger brought about deluded mutterings from the girl.
Then, a spark of flame, a long candle, time had worn it to but a swollen stump, wax formed mounds like cancerous tumours, the drips streaming over as veins do to feed that ever growing disease. Pestilence. Much of the girl’s thoughts had been grasped by righteous indignation.
Wax dripped freely over that aged wood, mingling with the blood as the young woman worked, flitterings of blackened smoke creeped their way around her. Candle after candle were precariously convinced into life, beckoned by the open flame until they too sung the same song.
It had been prepared perfectly, surely this time they would answer? The woman sat, she began silent, her hands clawing at her textured cheeks as she’d clutch herself. Her prayer began in thoughts, thoughts of the rejection, of the horror, the horror that painted the faces of others that beheld her. Perhaps it was a blessing that she could no longer see them. Just another thing her curse had taken from her, she thought.
First it snatched her autonomy. She was disallowed from so many places on the mere basis of appearance. Though, that was not the worst of it, at least they were not hostile… Then came the crusades, where regular folk took up arms. Uneducated. They’d seek to wield them against the vulnerable girl. She tried at first to train, over the years she’d amassed quite some strength, but without the vision to guide her strikes it would prove useless. So, she took the only path she could, she covered her horns, she hid. It was fear that punctuated her adolescence and youth, and it would be anger that fueled this quest. The quest to bargain back her liberty.
Then, it took her dignity. She’d only be five when she’d hear the first of many hits to her character. It came in the form of a grand figure on horseback, his own body shrouded in robes, the stink of rubbing alcohol on him. He was imposing, frightful. It was too long ago for Mircalla to remember the exact words but there was two that still resounded through her skull to this day:
Was it that prompted her to act in kind? Or was it the comment of being left to the wolves? This girl, fresh from being a toddler threw herself at him, it was a comment that could not go unpunished, and from a masked man at that. Cowardice. She sought to tear the mask right from his face, and she was successful, the wretched floral scent assaulted her nostrils, the little child far too close to the mask for her own good. The otherwise pleasant scent, misattributed, bastardised to the ‘doctor’s’ own delusions. With the plant matter still in her mouth, she’d spit it all and turn back. What did she see? What lay behind the mask? The flesh of man. The ignorance of humanity. This would not be the first time, and it would not be the last.
Then it stole her sight or so she thought. It began with just blurriness, not something noticeable, nor particularly concerning. After a few years she’d acquired a pair of glasses, all was well. Though, something troubling remained, for after the night fell she was rendered entirely sightless, only for it to return once light pierced through the veil. As she aged that field of vision continued to eat away. The girl, very much aware of the encroaching blackness, did not seek treatment nor help. She hid it. Better to hide than to be perceived as weak. There came a point where she could no longer lie, certainly she could string together context from the tiny sphere of vision she did hold, but to react to anything further was simply impossible to fake.
What was there to do now? Should she shy away from the forces that stole so much from her? Go to her father and have new eyes fashioned? A new body, one without the marks of those same demons she so despised? Integrate into the world that would have hated her without these modifications? No. She was not ashamed. The world had forced her into the spheres of the dark, but they embraced her. Where others saw a corrupting hand she saw the warmth of those like her. Where others saw wickedness she saw a sacrifice, bodily sanctity for her protection. Alchemy, the void, they extended a ladder, but she refused to climb it.
The devil you know is better than the one you don’t.
It was time.
“I know you're there.”
It was met with silence.
“I know it. You who cursed me, you must be watching. You must be delighting in it, mustn't you?”
Would it be worse if she was just forgotten? Cursed and then fed to the wolves?
“What do I have to do? What do I have to do to get you to speak to me? Do I not deserve that much?”
Not a stir, the ‘ritual circle’ remained still, mundane. This was no more than a lost girl, left to her own devices in a cold, unwelcoming basement.
“GOD! What must I do?! What do you want from me! You who have taken so much? What must I GIVE?”
“Please! Please, Please I have nothing I have nothing. Can you not see that I am desperate? Why won’t you speak to me? Give me a chance at least. there must be something I can give. Something I can do.”
The words became more desperate and less coherent until they devolved into nothing short of whines. The bloodied prick from her finger had spread it all over her eyelids which she clutched with mutated and clawed hands, soon she’d drag those hands down her face, parting the skin in slight. A mutilation of her flesh. Her empty eyes, devoid of pupils, then opened. Her hands balling into fists.
The desperate pleas would surely go unanswered, yet she steeled herself. It was every night now that she entertained this dance with her own mind. The little imps had left her cooking but it was disregarded, uneaten. Her cheeks hollow, she’d get up from the circle, those balled fists throwing her preparations over. Cloth plucked from the counter soon used to smother the onslaught of tears that oozed from her tear ducts, then cast toward the door.
With her desperation unheard she’d force herself into a feverish sleep. Her pillows tainted with the many attempts before. Yellowed and abused. The quivering girl wept, so small under the covers. A pitiful sight. An opportunity. As the last vestiges of sight left her, she’d snuff out the candle by her bedside.
The stench of sulphur was palatable, the woman was standing in the centre of a not so unfamiliar scene. Demons feasted upon one another, should she have peered upon the ground it was red with blood. Each step squelched as if she stood upon carrion. Amidst the veritable chaos, the girl was ignored. Tracing the horizon leant itself to a discovery, something that stood out, a pillar, a thousand odd steps. On approach it was quite treacherous. The time-worn steps gasped in horror at each step, squealing and creaking. Though undeterred, the youth continued.
Upon the skyline hues of orange, purple and red tangled with one another, a battle of colour that never seemed to cease. The air was oppressive as she climbed, the smoke well behind her now, this was something else. The air thinned, her lungs made their complaint, wheezing and groaning. The teenaged devil stopped then, her knuckles whitening as she’d clutch a insecure railing, one that began to teeter before being ripped off of the tower, either by divine or mundane forces, that would soon make itself known. The high hells spoke:
The words, as venomous and short as they were, remained measured, cold. The calmness only second to the booming terror they must have caused as shockwaves of these vocalisations sent ripples throughout the lessers on the ground. The chaos seemed to still as they all peered up at her. She was noticed.
With the eyes of hundreds boring into her skull she recommenced her climb. Frantic now she tripped up stairs, the fall only growing more potentially lethal as she rose, but determined now she lept from each squealing step to another, her path to return crumbling away with each movement. The slabs of stone began their descent turning in the air before pulverising once their forms kissed the earth.
It wasn’t long before the wheezing girl found herself laying at the top of the tower. Drenched in sweat, her raven locks remained entirely slick to the ground, her face buried in the stone for what must have felt like millenia. Though this was no time to rest, the encroaching feeling of another presence crawled on her back like teeming serpents. Slowly that horned head of hers peered upward, her pure white eyes swirling with confusion. Though soon that confusion was wiped from her as her hues widened in shock. The titan spoke:
“How you have suffered, child. O’ child. I can feel it. Your desperation, you r̶̝̔͆̌̊ͅê̵̡̧̘̭̠̥̞̾͐͠ę̶̻̠̥̟͈͉̙͊̄̑̀͜k̸̛͓̭͍̥̇̈́̏͝ͅͅ.”
The disembodied voice was personified now. A titan stood before her. Unburdened by the frailty of mortality, the beast leaked blood from its maw, a terrible sight, and one Mircalla would be unable to bargain with. It spoke again unimpeded.
“Something got your tongue stray ĺ̶̘̫̾̔͌a̸̬͕͊͊͑m̸̺̰̘͒̋b̵̮̦̍̾̄͒? Should I take that too?”
The taunting spurred something in Mircalla, but no words would escape her throat, upon second inspection, she’d feel the tongue in her mouth moving, but to no effect, her hand slowly reached into her own mouth to find it empty. Shrill and muffled cries escaped the teenager as she’d flop back into submission, heavy pants escaping the thing. The weight of the climb was heavy on her now. In a daze, the girl attempted to look back up at the titan, though the weight of her own head provided too much.
“I’ll grant you a mercy pathetic little s̶̱͉̜̎̊́̊̕͝h̵̡̧̩̠̘͒͛̅͋͛̓̓͗̌͠ę̵̠̥͉͖͉̎̀͊͝͝ę̸̳͔̪̭͔͇̤͎͌͐̋̊́p̷̜͇͙̱̄͂̐̚. I leave you with this.”
There was a silence, before a booming command resounded from its foetid maw.
“c̶̟̗͎̬͍͉̤͉̘̥̩̔̓̓ͅo̶̥̠͙̲̳̹͙̭̍̍̆̽̐͗͌̾̏͆̄̊̏ͅͅv̴̥̟͇͚̄͗̓̋͗̄́͆̽̚e̴̢̢͙̠͍͈̼̣̹̪̐̄̆̀̊̽́̿̅̀͘ͅr̸͉̻͕͍͖̼̓̎̾́̔̈́̚ ̷̨̡̻̩̖̳̻͎̍͐̐̍͋̈́̉͒̋̏́̚͝y̸̳̹͖͔̳̠̯͖̦̥̯͊͛̆̌̌͝ͅo̷̧̧͉̟̘̝̼̎̿̌̀̄u̷̡͂̔̾͊͘͘͝͠ŗ̵̻̙̝͕̻̈̏̈́̿͜͝ ̵͈̗̥͓͎̏͂̈̆̔̈́̈͘ḙ̶̛͔̫̤͎̿̈́̌́͋̅̐͛͠͠y̵̢͔̠̻̖̲̜̟̠̗͙͒̽̀͘ͅͅe̶͖̜̼̗̩̜̬̹̟̅̏̊͂̈́̇͘͜͝s̶̱̀̌̇͊̋͠”
And with that. The nightmare tore away. Mircalla awoke, panting. A layer of cold sweat had made itself home over her body, each trembling digit of the feverish woman searched over the ruined bed chamber until she found what she sought, fabric of amber, a see-through veil, and with it she submitted to the creature’s desires.